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Expert panel: the metaverse is coming – or is it?

Does the Metaverse mean a radical change in our society? Is it all just hype and smokescreen? Or does the virtual universe represent a real opportunity for tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, startups and businesses? Here, four experts give their take on what the Metaverse will mean.

The article is part of the magazine ‘Virtual VRevolution’. You can read the full magazine online here.

Simon Lajboschitz – CEO and co-founder, Khora

What will the Metaverse mean for our society?

The biggest shift that the Metaverse/Web 3.0/the inclusive internet (dear child has many names) will create is of our perception of reality. We are now no longer physical beings living in a world of atoms, but become almost as much beings living in a world of bytes. With digital possessions, property and friendships and digital tools that feel like a natural extension of ourselves. Just as GPS apps have given us the ability to navigate and the phone has given us the ability to talk to people far away, these tools will give us the ability to live healthier, solve problems and improve ourselves. And they will feel like an extension of who we are. It also means that the challenges we face today of privacy, digital addiction and trust will be brought to the fore even more.

What potential does this represent for the entrepreneurs and startups of the future?

The metaverse and the inclusive internet will become an inevitable part of all future businesses – just as the internet is today. Not everyone will necessarily sit with VR glasses all day and shop in a VR Nike store. Some certainly will, but the inclusive internet will be just as much an AR manual that uses holograms to help you fix your washing machine or a digital hologram guide that shows you around when you visit a new city. That means plenty of opportunities for budding startups to come in and help create a whole new market of products and services. But there are also many big companies that won’t have time to act on the disruption, and they will then find themselves overtaken by new emerging competitors that use technology more effectively.

Karina Rothof Brix – Country Manager in Denmark for Firi, the largest crypto exchange in the Nordics

What will the Metaverse mean for our society?

The short answer is EVERYTHING. Not right away, but over time the metaverse will become an integral part of the way we experience everyday life. Both our working lives and our social lives will in many ways be divided between our presence in the physical world and in the virtual worlds. And that through VR, AR and other technologies, we jump in and out of them without thinking about it. Companies will create offices in virtual worlds where we, as avatars, will be able to walk around, hold meetings and test new products with all the other avatars who are our colleagues. When we watch football matches at the local sports café, it will be virtual, like stepping into the stadium itself, not just a match on a screen.

What potential does this represent for future entrepreneurs and startups?

With an increasing presence in the virtual world, a need for new products and business models arises. The clothing and events industries in particular will see endless opportunities for business. With new ways of doing business, also comes a need for our legal understanding and rules to be rethought and reassessed. At the same time, the new opportunities provide ample scope for more entrepreneurs to create new products or apps on the protocols that will form the basis of Web3. Agile companies will win if they understand the mechanics of how the metaverse will increasingly rely on engaged communities and customers who want to be informed and involved. Further, entrepreneurs with gamification skills will be the ones to grow fastest.

Sofie Hvitved, Associate Partner, Institute for Futures Studies

What will the metaverse mean for our society?

The pandemic has undoubtedly been a watershed for the idea of the ‘next internet’, bringing a tsunami of investment – most notably from big technology companies like Microsoft and Meta. New projects are announced every week, and in this early phase they will all define what the Metaverse will look like. So right now we are witnessing a race to create the building blocks around which the Metaverse will be built.

There is no doubt that the creators of the Metaverse will be extremely powerful in designing the fabric of the future internet and new business models. That is why we are seeing a gold-digger mentality reminiscent of the Wild West and the early days of the internet.

What potential does this represent for the entrepreneurs and startups of the future?

There are undoubtedly a number of pitfalls associated with the Metaverse, as there are with the development of the internet, both in terms of the ethical issues, security, sustainability and the use of data, which can have an extremely large impact on our society if we don’t get a grip on it. But it is also important to take an exploratory approach and be aware of all the opportunities that the metaverse brings. For the technologies of the Metaverse can lead to a host of products and services in the new virtual layer that will surround us. The metaverse is very much about connecting people, places and things, and if we can find ways to help us create valuable relationships and make ourselves better, smarter, happier and more connected, then I think we have found the recipe for success in the metaverse.

Mads Troelsgaard – Co-founder and CEO, SynergyXR

What will the Metaverse mean for our society?

No one knows how much the Metaverse will affect the world. But since it is effectively the next revolution after the internet, we can start by asking ourselves what does the internet mean for the world today? A lot, most would agree. So it’s clear that the Metaverse is going to be just as momentous. In this context, we focus a lot on how it affects businesses. Right now, there is a ‘Wild West’ feeling around the Metaverse, where the rules are still being formulated. But businesses can’t operate in that environment. They need greater control, security, privacy and well-defined rules to survive and thrive.

What potential does this represent for the entrepreneurs and startups of the future?

There is enormous potential and opportunity for everyone, especially entrepreneurs and startups. In many ways it is akin to when the internet entered the scene 30 years ago. Think of how many startups were launched then and how many of them have grown to become global companies. As with any major innovation, this creates opportunities for new products and services as the ecosystem expands.

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